advertisement

Getting There

Datong's airport finally opened in 2006 and offers flights to Beijing (daily), Shanghai (Tues, Thurs, and Sat) and Guangzhou (daily). The airport is 15km (9 miles) east of the city and can be reached by buses from outside the Wuzhou Dajiudian on Binxi Lu (¥10) or taxi (¥40).

There are plenty of trains between Beijing Xi Zhan and Datong, which take around 5 hours. Trains from Taiyuan take a similar length of time, although the K7807, which leaves at 9:05am, is a little faster. Heading west, the Beijing-Baotou line has plenty of services, connecting Datong with Hohhot in around 4 hours.

Bus trips between Beijing and Datong take around 5 hours. Large, deluxe buses now travel between the two cities, departing several times a day from the Datong's old long-distance bus station, near the railway station, and dropping passengers off at the Liuliqiao Bus Station in the west part of Beijing. Call tel. 0352/603-6784 for information; tickets costs ¥102. Minivans for Beijing leave from outside the train station and charge around ¥90; while they are slightly quicker than the buses, they can be cramped, you'll have to wait for the van to fill up with passengers and drivers often give little thought to road safety. Air-conditioned buses connecting with Hohhot arrive and depart hourly from the old bus station (3 hr. 40 min; ¥59). Heading to Wutai Shan (4 hr.; ¥66) or Taiyuan (3 1/2 hr.; ¥65) you'll need to head to the bus depot on Yantong Xi Lu near Xinjian Bei Lu. Wutai Shan is served by buses at 8am and 4pm, and there are regular buses to Taiyuan throughout the day.

Getting Around

Although the city is spread out, it can be toured on foot because the few tourist sights are in a fairly compact area south of Da Xi and Da Dong Jie. Rates for the two types of taxis are ¥6 for the first 3km (2 miles), then ¥1.40 per kilometer for Santanas, or ¥1.20 for smaller vehicles. Beyond 8km (5 miles), the fare is ¥1.80 per kilometer. Between 10pm and 7am, the first 3km (2 miles) is ¥6, then ¥1.80 per kilometer. Most trips within 3km (2 miles) in the city are ¥6 to ¥9. For longer trips, negotiate a price before you set off.

Tours

There's a convenient branch of CITS just inside the main exit from the railway station (tel. 0352/510-1816). The office is managed by helpful William Gao and offers 1-day tours to the Yungang Buddhist Caves, the Hanging Temple, and the Ying Xian Wooden Pagoda. You can choose from either tour 1 (Yungang Caves and the Hanging Monastery) or tour 2 (the Hanging Temple and the Wooden Pagoda). Tours operate with a minimum of five passengers, start at 9am from the train station and cost ¥225 including entrance fees and lunch, or ¥100 without. Some visitors arrive overnight from Beijing, take this tour, and return overnight. CITS also has a helpful office outside the Datong Binguan (tel. 0352/510-1021).

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- You can't walk more than a few minutes in downtown Datong without stumbling across a Bank of China with an ATM. The main Bank of China, Yingbin Lu near Hongqi Nan Jie (Mon-Fri 8am-noon and 2:30-6:30pm) has full-service foreign exchange and an ATM that accepts international cards. An ATM is in the lobby of the Huayuan Dafandian.

Internet Access -- Internet cafes can be found throughout the city. In the north of town the 24-hour Hongxin Wangba is opposite the police station 5 minutes' walk southeast from the train station along Dongma Lu (look for the blue and white sign). Connection here costs ¥3 per hour. In the south of town a good option is at 11 Yingbin Dong Lu, just west of the intersection with Yuhe Nan Lu where connection costs ¥2 per hour and opening times are from 8am to midnight.

Post Office -- The main post office is in Hongqi Square (8am-6:30pm) and another branch is across from the train station.

Visa Extensions -- The PSB (Gonganju; Mon-Fri 8am-noon and 2-5pm) is on Xinjian Bei Lu. Visas can be extended while you wait.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.